Has your home been invaded by fruit flies? Here are 9 simple DIY tricks to help you get rid of those pesky fruit flies in your home.
I love summer. I love the warm summer nights, and the soft, fragrant breezes. I love going for a swim when it’s hot out and relaxing by a campfire when the night cools down. I love food cooked on the grill, gorgeous summer fruit dishes, and hosting a delightful backyard party.
I love everything about summer, except the bugs. Summer bugs can quickly become the bane of one’s existence.
Between mosquitoes, houseflies, and fruit flies, your once tranquil home is invaded by tiny little flying creatures that seem to pester you day in and day out.
Fruit flies are the tiniest, but possibly the most ninja-like of the group, because they often seem to appear out of nowhere and then create an instant army, taking over your kitchen and your bathroom in an instant.
Fruit flies are attracted by the smell of fermenting fruit, which happens when happens when you let an apple or banana get just a tad too ripe. But they also seem to like leftover beer and the guck that gets trapped in the bottom of your bathroom drains just as much.
And because they are so tiny, they can sneak into your home through any little crack, crevice, or opening you may not even know is there. And forget about window screens, they can slip right through.
Plus, you could be buying and bringing home fruit fly larvae from the local grocery store without even realizing it, which is one of the reasons why it is important to wash your fruit with warm water as soon as you bring it home.
Of course, there are some preventative measures to help make sure you don’t get fruit flies, such as making sure that there is no rip fruit exposed for them to become attracted to. Fully dump, rinse, and dispose of beer & wine bottles once you’re finished with them. Basically, the trick to preventing them is to make sure they aren’t tempted to come over for a visit.
Because, like that annoying uncle of yours, once they come for a visit they ALWAYS overstay their welcome.
However, in this super-busy world that we live in, everyone slips up at least once and suddenly – BOOM – it’s Fruit-Fly-Palooza in your kitchen.
That’s partly because of how fast the cycle of life is in the fruit fly world. A female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs at a time. These eggs can hatch as quickly as 24 – 30 hours later, and mature within a few days to become adult enough so that each female from the original set can to lay their own batch of 500 eggs.
You may not concern yourself with the first 500 or so fruit flies spread out through your average size kitchen. But you’ll definitely notice the 125,000 or so that appear a few days later. And there’s no way you’ll miss the over 30 million that come a few days after that.
That’s how you can VERY quickly go from spotting one or two fruit flies floating around the kitchen to an Amityville Horror level swarm.
Once that happens, your only course of action is to take steps to help get the fruit flies out of your kitchen and out of your life. Kind of like a bad ex.
And moving out and simply starting over is not usually an option.
To that end, we have gathered together some of the best and easiest ways to help rid your home of those fruit fly invaders.
9 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
The following is a mix of DIY and recommended products that can help reduce or eliminate the fruit fly infestation in your home.
If possible, start using these tricks as soon as you notice the first few fruit flies buzzing around, before they manage to breed themselves into and entire armada.
The Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap
Pour about 1/2 an inch of Apple Cider Vinegar in a small drinking glass and cover the top with plastic wrap. Use an elastic band to hold the plastic wrap down, and then poke a few holes in the top using a skewer. You want the holes to be big enough for the fruit flies to get in, but not so big that they can easily find their way back out.
For a significant amount of fruit flies, you’ll usually need about 3 or 4 of these placed strategically around an average sized kitchen.
Once they are full of dead little fruit fly soldiers, dump the vinegar and start again until no more little black spots appear. You can resolve your fruit fly problem in as little as a few hours, or it can take up to 3 – 4 days of repeated applications, depending on how bad your fruit fly problem is.
Three Cheers for Beer
Fruit flies LOVE beer almost as much as frat boys. This fruit fly trap practically makes itself, simply leave about an inch of stale beer in the bottom of a beer bottle and put the bottle on the kitchen counter. The fruit flies will fly in, but will have a difficult time flying back out.
A Corona with a lime in the bottom works especially well, because it has both beer AND fruit.
However, as I have learned from personal experience, moving the bottle seems to give them extra incentive to find the exit, so make sure to the cover the top before you move the bottle to the outdoors for dumping purposes.
Plus, because this method is so effective for helping you get rid of fruit flies, it can also be one of the causes for your fruit fly infestation. Unless you are are purposefully using this to get rid of a current problem, don’t leave half empty beer bottles or beer cans laying around as they will attract the little buggers like yelling “free beer” on Daytona Beach during March break.
The Dish Soap & Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap
This is a super simple method, and quite effective. All you need to do is put about 3 tablespoons of white vinegar into a small glass bowl and then add a few drops of dish soap to the mix.
The vinegar attracts the fruit flies, and the dish soap makes it hard for them to escape once they land to enjoy their newly found feast, so they sink like a stone.
You may also find a few common house flies trapped in this mix as well, and that’s not a bad thing, is it?
The Paper Cone Method
Fruit flies are stealthy, but they’re not super smart… so they can easily be trapped.
One such trap is by simply rolling a piece of paper into a cone shape and then putting it (small end first) into a jar that has something sweet at the bottom. This can be apple cider vinegar, a piece of ripe fruit, or even a honey and water mix.
I tend to err on the side of overkill with this method, and usually add a couple of pieces of ripe fruit AND some apple cider vinegar to the bottom of the mason jar.
The fruit flies will crawl in through the cone funnel but many of them will have trouble finding the small hole in order to get out.
The trick with this method is then taking the gar/cone concoction outside to release the fruit flies without letting any of them escape on the way.
But, for those who are opposed to killing things – even tiny, annoying fruit flies – this helps preserve the little buggers so that you can move them to a new home away from your kitchen.
Invite Fruit Flies Over for a Glass of Wine
Similar to beer, fruit flies love the sweet, sweet smell of wine. Especially after it’s been allowed to sit and ferment for an extra day or two.
You can put some wine in a glass, using the plastic wrap method, or simply leave a half a glass in the bottom of the bottle. I know that leaving wine untasted seems like a tragedy, but it will be well worth the sacrifice in order to get rid of fruit flies.
Add a couple of drops of dish soap to the mixture to complete the trap, and to remove the temptation to finish off the bottle yourself.
The Dishwasher Trap
If you’re squeamish about the idea of dealing with a collection of alive or dead fruit flies, you can combine any of the open bowl methods with the power of your automatic dishwasher.
When your dishwasher is practically full, simply place put a small amount of beer, fruit jam, wine, apple cider vinegar, etc. in a glass bowl and place it face up in the dishwasher. Add your detergent now (you don’t want to have to open the door later.
Leave the dishwasher door ajar for a few hours and then simply close the door and run the dishwasher. This will trap and then wash away any of the fruit flies that were attracted to your trap.
You can run this again the next time your dishwasher is ready to be run, if you still have any fruit flies to deal with.
If you don’t run your dishwasher on a regular basis, a quick rinse is just as effective as a full wash.
Do the Monster Mash
Similar to the apple cider vinegar method to get rid of fruit flies, ripe fruit that has been mashed up and placed in the bottom of a small bowl is extremely attractive to fruit flies, for obvious reasons.
Simple cover the bowl with plastic wrap, secure the wrap using elastic bands, and then poke holes in the top using a skewer or tooth pick.
The downside with this method is having to deal with the mushy, fruit fly infested goop in the cup after it’s done its job.
Milk, It Does a Fruit Fly Bad
Mix 1 pint milk with 1/4 pound of raw sugar and 2 oz of ground pepper in a saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Divide the mixture into several shallow bowls and then add a couple of drops of dish soap into each.
Place your milky traps around the kitchen and watch as the specks of formerly pesky fruit flies grow.
Down the Drain
Fruit flies love to hide – and breed – in your kitchen and bathroom drains. There’s something about the dark, moist environment that they love, plus there is often some sweet treat floating around in your P-Trap that they are drawn to.
If you notice some fruit flies escaping your drains, kill them off as quickly as possible before the exodus of their offspring begins.
Pour straight bleach down the drain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then follow with some boiling water (or boiling vinegar will do as well) to get rid of fruit flies hiding in your drain pipes. Lastly, cover your drain with some duct tape for 24 hours. Any fruit flies that managed to survive your initial assault will likely find themselves stuck to the duct tape.
Here’s to a Fruit Fly Free Future
By using these 9 simple tricks to help get rid of fruit flies, you should be able to solve your current fruit fly problem within a few hours, or possible a few days.
And by making sure to keep what they love most – fermenting fruits and beverages – out of your kitchen, you can reduce the possibilities of Fruit Flies Attack, The Sequel.
Want to know more about Fruit Flies? Check out these 15 Fascinating Facts About Fruit Flies.